Gatwick Airport plans to double its weekly flights to India within the next five years, driven by high demand for direct connections between India and the UK, according to Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer of Gatwick Airport. Currently, 24 flights per week operate between Gatwick and India, all managed by Air India since April of last year.

Pollard expressed a realistic goal of increasing this number to 49 flights per week, equating to six or seven daily flights to India. He noted that only Gatwick and Heathrow airports in London currently have flights to India, with Heathrow handling 232 flights per week.

Under the bilateral agreement between India and the UK, there is no cap on the number of flights between Gatwick and six major Indian cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Pollard highlighted the significant growth potential in this sector, pointing out that the current traffic is predominantly point-to-point.

Gatwick’s India operations will still be smaller compared to Heathrow even if the target is achieved, due to slot capacity constraints. Most of Gatwick’s new slot capacity is expected to be available from 2029, following planned adjustments to its runway operations.

Gatwick Airport, with a capacity of 55 aircraft movements per hour, expects to handle 44 million passengers this year and more than 50 million in three years. Pollard noted the substantial demand for direct flights between India and London, currently underserved, with many travelers opting for Middle Eastern carriers.

Source: Business Standard